clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Are there any young Mizzou linebackers ready to contribute?

Redshirt freshman and sophomores are all over the linebacker corps. Can they compete for playing time in 2023?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 01 Georgia at Missouri

As the 2023 season approaches, we’re asking our football staff to answer a series of questions facing the Mizzou Tigers. Read along to get their takes on who should start, who will shine and who will leave their mark on the season.

The best teams always have a healthy combination of veterans and young stars contributing, the present and the future colliding.

We know that Mizzou’s linebackers have the former in spades. Ty’Ron Hopper is already a documented star. Chad Bailey turned into an above-average starter last season and is looking for more this year. As for who’s coming in behind them? That’s another question entirely, a question we want answered...

Mizzou’s starting linebackers are set, but there’s plenty of rotation spots to go around. Are there any young Mizzou linebackers ready to contribute?

Parker Gillam, Beat Writer: Triston Newson was a name that the coaching staff frequently tabbed as an up-and-coming star on the defense during the spring, and in having watched him play during the “spring game,” it’s easy to see why. The Northeast Mississippi C.C. transfer has great sideline-to-sideline ability and can be a ball hawk in pass defense, evident by his key interception during the scrimmage. At 6-foot-3, 215 lbs., Newson already has the size to step in and compete in the SEC, yet he does not sacrifice speed with that frame. It will be tough to take away snaps from proven veterans like Chad Bailey and Ty’Ron Hopper, but expect Newson to play a significant role in spelling the two of them. He certainly has what it takes to be the next great playmaking linebacker at Mizzou, especially after learning behind the likes of Bailey and Hopper for a year.

Quentin Corpuel, Staff Writer: In the search for an answer other than Triston Newson, I couldn’t find anything. Apologies for being boring, but Newson is the easiest answer here.

He’s big. He’s long. He can cover ground like a center fielder. He was tackle machine at NMCC. His most memorable moment so far as a Tiger came when he picked off Sam Horn during the spring game, a period of time in which any remnant of an up-and-comer succeeding is treated like they’re going to be a star. Can Newson reach the heights that Hopper, Bailey and other great Mizzou linebackers have reached? I’m not totally sure. But if there’s anyone currently behind Hopper and Bailey that can do it, Newson seems like the guy.

Josh Matejka, Deputy Site Manager: I guess I’ll play the devil’s advocate. I mean, we can’t all pick Triston Newson!

I’m really curious to see DJ Wesolak this season. We’ve heard his name come up as a guy that has impressed in fits and spurts for the past calendar year, and there’s a real chance for him to establish himself as part of the next core in the middle of the defense. There’s a reason his commitment was coveted by a lot of schools around the country, and I think 2023 will be the year his talent begins to pay dividends on the field.